Oklahoma Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program
Overview of Course
Purpose and Goals
The purpose of the Oklahoma Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program is to assist beginning farmers and ranchers with training, resources, and mentoring.
At the end of this course, participants will have a plan to establish or improve farm enterprises, and have the resources to move forward and be successful.
The goal of the program is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma:
- develop successful ag enterprises
- operate financially viable farms/ranches
- be good stewards of their land
In addition, participants...
- may produce local food for underserved communities
- may learn to develop their skills as teachers and mentors in order to help other beginning producers.
The Kerr Center is partnering with the Oklahoma Farmer and Rancher Association (OFRA), the Rural Smallholder Association (RSA), and the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative (MFSI). OSU Cooperative Extension Service is also a partner.
This is a three-year project which began in late 2011, supported by a grant from the USDA’s NIFA Beginning Farmer Program (see bottom of page). The project will provide in-depth training each of the three years with instruction in business and whole farm planning along with two tracks in livestock and horticulture.
Scholarships are available to beginning farmers and ranchers to attend each year and course materials are available to everyone on the Kerr Center website.
During the first year, training was held at the Kerr Center in Poteau. Year two expanded to include horticulture training at both the Kerr Center and the MFSI offices in Okmulgee, with presentations at the center being shown via webinar at MFSI. Year three will include both hort and livestock tracks at both locations.
After training, follow-up will be in the form of mentoring by three of the partnering organizations. This mentoring will provide one-on-one assistance as beginners put their plans into practice.
Participants are receiving in-depth training in sustainable horticulture or livestock production (see course topics for more info). In addition, attendees are learning how to create a business plan, practice conservation, and increase profits.
This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-49400-30525 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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